Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Senior Leaders, Cheap Talk, & Being Present

"Culture is to recruiting, as product is to marketing."
Hubspot's Culture Code

Culture, Culture, Culture
The word culture sure gets thrown around a lot, don't you think? For me, it's right up there with values. If I hear one more executive espouse their organization's values, without taking action to prove they matter, I think I might spit.

Every organization obviously has a culture. However, many organizations do not have the culture they claim, or they secretly know in their "heart" that theirs has unlimited room for improvement.

If we all know these things, claim our employees are our most valuable asset, and continue to preach our culture message over and over yet still have major gaps relative to reality, what is the missing piece?

All You Do To Me is Talk Talk
For many leaders, landing that big title or breaking into the executive ranks feels like the end of a long journey, when in fact, it is only the beginning. They often feel as if they can ramble on and on simply because they must be the smartest person in the room, just look at their title!

Think of leaders as the six players on a hockey team during a game. 

Six players, but twenty-thousand fans staring at them...watching every move...hoping for good decisions, and the effort to back up what they say when they are off the ice.

It's the same for us in leadership. There are only a few of us compared to all of the employees who work in our companies. 

They are watching every move...hoping for good decisions, and the effort to back up what we say during meeting after meeting after meeting.

Are you with me?

How About You
Words are incredibly powerful tools for leaders. They inspire, motivate, encourage, reward, hold accountable, recognize and fire up the people around them. But in the absence of action...or follow through...

...the words damage the credibility of that leader. 

It's time to back up the culture talk with culture ACTION!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Flowers 'AND' Weeds

I put a lot of energy into (trying) to be a positive person. I'm talking...fired-up, today is awesome, I love everybody and everything...kind of positive. It's not fake, or insincere. It's who I am.

Being Human
Despite my commitment to being Mr. Positivity, I often do battle with an old nemesis when it comes to maintaining that positive focus:

My brain.

The self-talk machine that we all carry around in our heads can be a powerful foe. It's as if we've been hardwired to "go negative" when things happen. Right?

So many questions...
- Why did this happen?
- What could I have done differently?
- Will this create more problems for me down the road?
- Who is this going to impact?

But, wait a minute here. It's as if our brain is trying to trick us into watering the negative weeds that grow in our heads.

And the 'talk' persists...
- I am a failure.
- I am no good.
- I am embarrassed.
- I am losing it.

When does it stop?!

I think the old adage of "powering through" in these moments doesn't really apply here (or anywhere for that matter.) Powering through negative feelings is simply not realistic or healthy.

Perhaps there is another way to reconcile that self-talk? 


Instead of the self-defeating messages we seem to have playing in a loop, maybe we could try a different approach.

"I made the wrong decision for the team; AND I am still a valuable member of the organization."

"I wish I had said something different in that moment; AND I'm thankful that relationship is still as strong as it ever was."

"When I look back, I can think of so many other things I should have done; AND I recognize that no one gets everything right...I'm human just like everyone else."

AND gives us perspective.
AND shows us a more complete picture of our world.
AND allows us to water those amazing flowers in our lives.
AND changes everything.
How About You
Maybe it's time you added one simple word into your self-talk monologue? It might make a really big difference.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Who was the last?

person you complimented on your team?

person you mentored?

person you helped during a tough time?

person you supported to receive a promotion?

person you were courageous enough to give honest feedback to?

person you held accountable?

person you told was a huge influence in your life?

person you noticed struggling and reached out? 

person you told you couldn't do it alone?

How About You
Who was the last person you thanked for everything they've done for you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Year, Old Challenge

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward."
Amelia Earhart

The start of each year is often filled with self-reflection, motivation to create change, or a list of 'goals' for the months ahead.

Perhaps this year, we should all focus on one simple task in our work lives...

...making decisions.

Indecisive leaders are perhaps the most frustrating, ineffective, and candidly useless members of the team. 

They don't add value, because they never make a decision. 

They don't command respect because no one is really sure where they stand on the issues. 

And, they don't instill confidence in their teams because their employees see the fear of failure in their eyes every single day.
How About You
Which leader in your organization do you need to reach out to this year to help make the decisions required in their role? Go to them today. Have an open and honest conversation...and help them realize their full potential this year.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

HR is Messy

A few years ago a member of my team asked me a question. We were discussing a sensitive issue that required some finesse to work through. I was also working toward a specific outcome, and knew I needed to take several important steps in order to get there.

She asked..."do you always have an agenda for everything?"

I Love Plans
For most of us...well, at least for me...I like to be in control of my situation. I want to understand the issues, prepare to address the ever-present political landmines, and be organized so I can deliver the results everyone expects from me.

Good plans do that. Heck, even half-baked plans can often do most of the job. But something happens in spite of having a clear work plan...and it seems to happen consistently.

People get involved.

A Beautiful Mess
Here's the part where I do not vent about people being a source of frustration as I try to get my work done "according to plan."

It turns out I'm one of those people that gets involved...even in my own plans! Sometimes I change my mind, or learn new information, or discover a new challenge that needs to be managed thoughtfully.

HR work is messy....and I love it.

How About You
The next time someone "interrupts" your plans, consider this: the world does not revolve around your view exclusively. If you are always the smartest one in the room, you have a pretty weak room.

Focus on being savvy, understanding all of the dynamics involved, and focus on the end result versus winning every battle along the way.

Oh, and my answer to her question about having an agenda?

It was yes, of course.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Should Have Known Better

"That time I pushed for what I thought was best, without really listening to what my colleagues were telling me."

I should have known better.

"When I didn't take the time to fully understand all of the politics involved."

I should have known better.

"The new policy I thought would be so good for the bottom line, but didn't realize how ill-prepared I was with the communication plan."

I should have known better.

"I wish the others could have seen how important that was...what's wrong with them?"

I should have known better.

"I wasn't threatened by them...I just needed to have things go my way...and be really popular."

I should have known better.
How About You
Who on your team needs a healthy dose of "should have known better?" Go tell them. Be firm. Stop treating them like they will break in two, or that chaos will follow. They need your coaching wisdom, and bold leadership.

Tell them today.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Carved In Stone

Regardless of the size of the organization.

Let's agree they are all complex.


Many Parts




My eyes only see a fraction of the whole.

What part am I not seeing?

Which employee am I missing?

What issue is just beyond my line of sight?

Who is struggling that I can help, but I just don't notice them?

How About You
Am I inflexible and carved so deeply in stone that I'm missing...well... everything around me? 

What, or more importantly, who, might you be missing in your world?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.